Oscar Sharpe – The Story of a Child Prodigy

“How often do we speak to ourselves in a firm, aggressive voice when we wouldn’t dream of speaking like that to a friend? If we don’t speak like that to a friend why do we do it to ourselves? We’re not trying to hit a shank, we’re not trying to duff it three feet in front of ourselves. So why be so firm?” – Oscar Sharpe

As a child, Oscar Sharpe was a child prodigy. At just 10 years of age he boasted a handicap of 8 – by 11 this was down to 4, and by 13 he was off scratch. He was British Champion in his age group for three consecutive years between Under 14’s and Under 16’s, and was the youngest person ever to be selected for the England U18 golf team – beating out Justin Rose.

Oscar was well and truly on the radar of many well-regarded people within the golfing world as a youngster. Peter McEvoy, former Walker Cup captain, once quipped that he had the talent to be the best British golfer to have ever played the game, while legendary coach Butch Harmon said that he was a better player at 13 than Tiger Woods.

After actively pursuing his dream to become the best player in the world for much of his childhood and his early adulthood, Oscar’s game began to deteriorate, and with it his passion for the sport.

In this podcast, he discusses how his love for the game developed as a young child, and subsequently, how and why it began to dwindle. He provides fascinating insight into a career like no other, including the impact of the pressure which was placed on him as a star young player, the influence of David Leadbetter on his game and his life, and what he did after his golfing dreams subsided.

Show Notes

  • Introduction to Oscar Sharpe. [0:50]
  • Oscar talks about the role of golf in his childhood, and how his love and passion for the game developed. [3:00]
  • Where did his drive and motivation come from as a child, and what plans were put in place to reach his goals? [8:20]
  • What did a day in the life of Oscar Sharpe look like at 13? [14:40]
  • His time at Milford, and how his career started to kick off as a teenager. [20:00]
  • His move to the United States, and how it and the increasing structure which he faced affected his golf. [23:00]
  • How did Oscar, and coach David Leadbetter, try to fix his game when it began to falter, and what was the lowest point he reached with his game? [32:00]
  • What was the caliber of players he was beating as a teenager? [38:30]
  • What happened when Oscar returned to the UK, and the moment he realized he was finished with golf. [40:20]
  • What did Oscar do during his time away from golf, and the void in his life that was filled by the gym. [46:50]
  • Oscar talks about his life today, and in particular the role that golf plays in it. [51:20]
  • Oscar shares an anecdote about a client with the yips. [59:30]
  • How to deal with players with differing mindsets and outlooks on golf, and what a standard lesson from Oscar looks like. [1:02:20]
  • Oscar’s golfing plans for the future. [1:09:50]
  • Oscar Sharpe’s action challenge. [1:11:10]

Oscar Sharpe’s action challenge

  1. Place your ball in a bunker, five yards away from the flag
  2. Take your 4-iron to the bunker, and hit a full swing with it.
  3. Try to hit it as high as possible, and try to land it as softly as possible.
  4. This incorporates feel into your shot, forcing you to adapt and connect with the shot.

To watch Oscar perform this – Click here 

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